Sunday, 31 May 2020

How the Witch Was Melted--Oz pages 39-40

Hello lovelies! Today’s illustrations are part boom and part film. We all know that the Wicked Witch is melted with a bucket of water. 

But how did that come about? The Witch enslaves Dorothy—she is afraid to actually abuse her because of the shining mark on her forehead, but Dorothy doesn’t know that so she is scared of the witch.

The girl had to work hard during the day, and often the Witch threatened to beat her with the same old umbrella she always carried in her hand. But, in truth, she did not dare to strike Dorothy, because of the mark upon her forehead. The child did not know this, and was full of fear for herself and Toto. Once the Witch struck Toto a blow with her umbrella and the brave little dog flew at her and bit her leg in return. The Witch did not bleed where she was bitten, for she was so wicked that the blood in her had dried up many years before.

Dorothy's life became very sad as she grew to understand that it would be harder than ever to get back to Kansas and Aunt Em again. Sometimes she would cry bitterly for hours, with Toto sitting at her feet and looking into her face, whining dismally to show how sorry he was for his little mistress. Toto did not really care whether he was in Kansas or the Land of Oz so long as Dorothy was with him; but he knew the little girl was unhappy, and that made him unhappy too.

Now the Wicked Witch had a great longing to have for her own the Silver Shoes which the girl always wore. Her bees and her crows and her wolves were lying in heaps and drying up, and she had used up all the power of the Golden Cap; but if she could only get hold of the Silver Shoes, they would give her more power than all the other things she had lost. She watched Dorothy carefully, to see if she ever took off her shoes, thinking she might steal them. But the child was so proud of her pretty shoes that she never took them off except at night and when she took her bath. The Witch was too much afraid of the dark to dare go in Dorothy's room at night to take the shoes, and her dread of water was greater than her fear of the dark, so she never came near when Dorothy was bathing. Indeed, the old Witch never touched water, nor ever let water touch her in any way.

Note: This was almost an illustration—with the bathtub in a darkened room with the silver shoes beside the tub.

But the wicked creature was very cunning, and she finally thought of a trick that would give her what she wanted. She placed a bar of iron in the middle of the kitchen floor, and then by her magic arts made the iron invisible to human eyes. So that when Dorothy walked across the floor she stumbled over the bar, not being able to see it, and fell at full length. She was not much hurt, but in her fall one of the Silver Shoes came off; and before she could reach it, the Witch had snatched it away and put it on her own skinny foot.

This is instead what I decided to do, and I am glad I did. How do you make an invisible iron bar, I thought to myself. I decided to use some printed paper I use for card making. I chose this particular paper because it has a weathered aged look and muted colours. I still wanted the red to reflect the previous time we saw the witch, but I needed a paper background. In the paper I cut a slit and made a little trapdoor flap that I carefully lined up the stripes to match the background. Note to self—don’t ever do this with stripes as it took several attempts to get it all lined up. Then I glued the iron bar underneath so it would be invisible. See below:

This picture is with the flap open. Then I glued the silver slipper as if it been knocked off.

The wicked woman was greatly pleased with the success of her trick, for as long as she had one of the shoes she owned half the power of their charm, and Dorothy could not use it against her, even had she known how to do so.

The little girl, seeing she had lost one of her pretty shoes, grew angry, and said to the Witch, "Give me back my shoe!"

"I will not," retorted the Witch, "for it is now my shoe, and not yours."

"You are a wicked creature!" cried Dorothy. "You have no right to take my shoe from me."

"I shall keep it, just the same," said the Witch, laughing at her, "and someday I shall get the other one from you, too."

This made Dorothy so very angry that she picked up the bucket of water that stood near and dashed it over the Witch, wetting her from head to foot.

Instantly the wicked woman gave a loud cry of fear, and then, as Dorothy looked at her in wonder, the Witch began to shrink and fall away.

Here is my Witch in a puddle of water.You can't really tell from the picture but her hands are bones as well.

"See what you have done!" she screamed. "In a minute I shall melt away."

"I'm very sorry, indeed," said Dorothy, who was truly frightened to see the Witch actually melting away like brown sugar before her very eyes.

"Didn't you know water would be the end of me?" asked the Witch, in a wailing, despairing voice.

"Of course not," answered Dorothy. "How should I?"

Note: I have always loved this line. I mean, how is she meant to know that?

"Well, in a few minutes I shall be all melted, and you will have the castle to yourself. I have been wicked in my day, but I never thought a little girl like you would ever be able to melt me and end my wicked deeds. Look out--here I go!"

Note: I have not always loved this line. “Look out—Here I go” feels a bit anticlimactic. I prefer the “I’m melting—melting!” from the film. However, I did want to have her melting, so I made her be able to melt away by means of a pull lever. Watch this film to see how I did it:

With these words the Witch fell down in a brown, melted, shapeless mass and began to spread over the clean boards of the kitchen floor. Seeing that she had really melted away to nothing, Dorothy drew another bucket of water and threw it over the mess. She then swept it all out the door. After picking out the silver shoe, which was all that was left of the old woman, she cleaned and dried it with a cloth, and put it on her foot again. Then, being at last free to do as she chose, she ran out to the courtyard to tell the Lion that the Wicked Witch of the West had come to an end, and that they were no longer prisoners in a strange land.

Two things—I debated long and hard about should it be a brown puddle to be textural or a blue puddle to look better and ultimately blue won. Secondly, I love the detail about her sweeping the witch goo out the door and wiping the shoe before putting it on. It is one of those details that bothers me in versions of Cinderella where the stepsisters cut off their toes and heals to fit in the glass slipper and then Cinderella tries it on with no mention of cleaning the blood out of the shoe.

The Cowardly Lion was much pleased to hear that the Wicked Witch had been melted by a bucket of water, and Dorothy at once unlocked the gate of his prison and set him free. They went in together to the castle, where Dorothy's first act was to call all the Winkies together and tell them that they were no longer slaves.

Note: This next part is not an illustration, but I wanted to include it if all you know is the film. One of the things that inspired me as a child was Dorothy. She was very real to me. She took charge. She made things happen. She was a problem solver. The Dorothy in the film is sitting up in the Witch’s castle crying her eyes out doing NOTHING but waiting for the men to rescue her. Yes, Dorothy cries in the book, but she also wipes her face and gets on with rescuing all the male characters after killing the witch. Also remember, in the book she is a CHILD and not a TEENAGER like Judy Garland.

There was great rejoicing among the yellow Winkies, for they had been made to work hard during many years for the Wicked Witch, who had always treated them with great cruelty. They kept this day as a holiday, then and ever after, and spent the time in feasting and dancing.

"If our friends, the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman, were only with us," said the Lion, "I should be quite happy."

"Don't you suppose we could rescue them?" asked the girl anxiously.

"We can try," answered the Lion.

So they called the yellow Winkies and asked them if they would help to rescue their friends, and the Winkies said that they would be delighted to do all in their power for Dorothy, who had set them free from bondage. So she chose a number of the Winkies who looked as if they knew the most, and they all started away. They travelled that day and part of the next until they came to the rocky plain where the Tin Woodman lay, all battered and bent. His axe was near him, but the blade was rusted and the handle broken off short.

The Winkies lifted him tenderly in their arms, and carried him back to the Yellow Castle again, Dorothy shedding a few tears by the way at the sad plight of her old friend, and the Lion looking sober and sorry. When they reached the castle Dorothy said to the Winkies:

"Are any of your people tinsmiths?"

"Oh, yes. Some of us are very good tinsmiths," they told her.

"Then bring them to me," she said. And when the tinsmiths came, bringing with them all their tools in baskets, she inquired, "Can you straighten out those dents in the Tin Woodman, and bend him back into shape again, and solder him together where he is broken?"

The tinsmiths looked the Woodman over carefully and then answered that they thought they could mend him so he would be as good as ever. So they set to work in one of the big yellow rooms of the castle and worked for three days and four nights, hammering and twisting and bending and soldering and polishing and pounding at the legs and body and head of the Tin Woodman, until at last he was straightened out into his old form, and his joints worked as well as ever. To be sure, there were several patches on him, but the tinsmiths did a good job, and as the Woodman was not a vain man, he did not mind the patches at all.

When, at last, he walked into Dorothy's room and thanked her for rescuing him, he was so pleased that he wept tears of joy, and Dorothy had to wipe every tear carefully from his face with her apron, so his joints would not be rusted. At the same time her own tears fell thick and fast at the joy of meeting her old friend again, and these tears did not need to be wiped away. As for the Lion, he wiped his eyes so often with the tip of his tail that it became quite wet, and he was obliged to go out into the courtyard and hold it in the sun till it dried.

"If we only had the Scarecrow with us again," said the Tin Woodman, when Dorothy had finished telling him everything that had happened, "I should be quite happy."

"We must try to find him," said the girl.

So she called the Winkies to help her, and they walked all that day and part of the next until they came to the tall tree in the branches of which the Winged Monkeys had tossed the Scarecrow's clothes.

It was a very tall tree, and the trunk was so smooth that no one could climb it; but the Woodman said at once, "I'll chop it down, and then we can get the Scarecrow's clothes."

Now while the tinsmiths had been at work mending the Woodman himself, another of the Winkies, who was a goldsmith, had made an axe-handle of solid gold and fitted it to the Woodman's axe, instead of the old broken handle. Others polished the blade until all the rust was removed and it glistened like burnished silver.

As soon as he had spoken, the Tin Woodman began to chop, and in a short time the tree fell over with a crash, whereupon the Scarecrow's clothes fell out of the branches and rolled off on the ground.

Dorothy picked them up and had the Winkies carry them back to the castle, where they were stuffed with nice, clean straw; and behold! here was the Scarecrow, as good as ever, thanking them over and over again for saving him.

Now that they were reunited, Dorothy and her friends spent a few happy days at the Yellow Castle, where they found everything they needed to make them comfortable.

But one day the girl thought of Aunt Em, and said, "We must go back to Oz, and claim his promise."

"Yes," said the Woodman, "at last I shall get my heart."

"And I shall get my brains," added the Scarecrow joyfully.

"And I shall get my courage," said the Lion thoughtfully.

"And I shall get back to Kansas," cried Dorothy, clapping her hands. "Oh, let us start for the Emerald City tomorrow!"

This they decided to do. The next day they called the Winkies together and bade them good-bye. The Winkies were sorry to have them go, and they had grown so fond of the Tin Woodman that they begged him to stay and rule over them and the Yellow Land of the West. Finding they were determined to go, the Winkies gave Toto and the Lion each a golden collar; and to Dorothy they presented a beautiful bracelet studded with diamonds; and to the Scarecrow they gave a gold-headed walking stick, to keep him from stumbling; and to the Tin Woodman they offered a silver oil-can, inlaid with gold and set with precious jewels.

Every one of the travellers made the Winkies a pretty speech in return, and all shook hands with them until their arms ached.

Dorothy went to the Witch's cupboard to fill her basket with food for the journey, and there she saw the Golden Cap. She tried it on her own head and found that it fitted her exactly. She did not know anything about the charm of the Golden Cap, but she saw that it was pretty, so she made up her mind to wear it and carry her sunbonnet in the basket.

Then, being prepared for the journey, they all started for the Emerald City; and the Winkies gave them three cheers and many good wishes to carry with them.

That’s all for today. Stay tuned for the story of the Winged Monkeys!

Friday, 29 May 2020

The Fate of the Four friends--Oz pages 37 and 38


Hello lovelies! Today we find out the fate of our four friends. I wanted to do another harlequin page like a I did for what the four friends did on their first night in the Emerald City. I divided my pages diagonally and painted then alternating blue and green.

Let’s see what the story says:

Some of the Monkeys seized the Tin Woodman and carried him through the air until they were over a country thickly covered with sharp rocks. Here they dropped the poor Woodman, who fell a great distance to the rocks, where he lay so battered and dented that he could neither move nor groan.

Others of the Monkeys caught the Scarecrow, and with their long fingers pulled all of the straw out of his clothes and head. They made his hat and boots and clothes into a small bundle and threw it into the top branches of a tall tree.

This is my first illustration. I made the tree out of the same tree pattern I used for the Tin Woodman to be chopping down on his page but reversed. I cut out both the Scarecrow and Tin Woodman and then cut them into pieces. With the Scarecrow I stuck him together all higgledy-piggledy into a ball and glued him in the tree branches. I know the text said his hat was in the bundle, but his head didn’t look right on its own and I wanted to have his head separated from his body. So artistic licence, baby. For the Tin Woodman, I cut some jagged rocks out of scrap of grey paper and then arranged his body like it had been dashed to pieces. I purposely only gave him one arm because in the book The Tin Woodman of Oz when he and Captain Fyter meet Chop-Fyt (the man who was glued together from meat-glue from their discarded parts and eventually married their Munchkin sweetheart Nimmie Amee) Chop-Fyt has a tin arm because they had spare parts for both men, but the Tinsmith came up short on the arms so just meat-glued human parts and made one arm tin. It’s called homage, baby.

The remaining Monkeys threw pieces of stout rope around the Lion and wound many coils about his body and head and legs, until he was unable to bite or scratch or struggle in any way. Then they lifted him up and flew away with him to the Witch's castle, where he was placed in a small yard with a high iron fence around it, so that he could not escape.

But Dorothy they did not harm at all. She stood, with Toto in her arms, watching the sad fate of her comrades and thinking it would soon be her turn. The leader of the Winged Monkeys flew up to her, his long, hairy arms stretched out and his ugly face grinning terribly; but he saw the mark of the Good Witch's kiss upon her forehead and stopped short, motioning the others not to touch her.

This is my second illustration. I got out all my felt and sewed a miniature version of the Lion from his illustration then put him in a paper cage. I know the text actually says a small yard with an iron fence, but I wanted to give the suggestion of imprisonment, baby. And as for Dorothy—the text in the next chapter details all the work (much like Cinderella) Dorothy had to do, so I made her a bucket and used the same blue Eric Carle tissue paper for the water that I used for the river. Why a bucket? I think you know. It’s foreshadowing, baby.

Here they are side by side:

We dare not harm this little girl," he said to them, "for she is protected by the Power of Good, and that is greater than the Power of Evil. All we can do is to carry her to the castle of the Wicked Witch and leave her there."

So, carefully and gently, they lifted Dorothy in their arms and carried her swiftly through the air until they came to the castle, where they set her down upon the front doorstep. Then the leader said to the Witch:

"We have obeyed you as far as we were able. The Tin Woodman and the Scarecrow are destroyed, and the Lion is tied up in your yard. The little girl we dare not harm, nor the dog she carries in her arms. Your power over our band is now ended, and you will never see us again."

Then all the Winged Monkeys, with much laughing and chattering and noise, flew into the air and were soon out of sight.

Now, I have not talked about the round shining mark. Early in our tale when Dorothy lands in Oz, the Witch of the North kisses her and leaves a round shining mark on her forehead as protection. Very few illustrators choose to show this.

Stay tuned for the melting of the witch, with what I hope will be a bit of pop up magic!

Fairy Tale Friday--King Peacock (Louisiana, 1894)


Hello and welcome to Fairy Tale Friday. Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Then I’ll begin.

With Red Riding Hood and Cinderella I started in Europe and worked my way outward geographically when sharing tales, but because there are fewer versions of Snow White, I am going chronologically. I found this tale entitled King Peacock in a blog about fairy tales. They discussed the story but did not actually link to it. I was fascinated for several reasons—one: it came from my home state of Louisiana and yet I had never heard of it and two: it was very different from other versions. I feverishly searched for days until I finally came across a link online. This was a poorly scanned copy of Louisiana Folk-Tales in French Dialect and English Translation collected and edited by Alcée Fortier published in 1895.  According to Wikipedia:

Alcée Fortier was a renowned Professor of Romance Languages at Tulane University in New Orleans. In the late 19th and early 20th century, he published numerous works on language, literature, Louisiana history and folklore, Louisiana Creole languages, and personal reminiscence. His perspective was valuable because of his French Creole ancestry; his family had history to the colonial period.

He became president of the Modern Language Association and the Louisiana Historical Society, was appointed to the State Board of Education, and was active in the American Folklore Society and the New Orleans Academy of Sciences.

I would be curious if any of my French teacher friends have heard of him because I had not.


This was a very weird variant. It has all the typical markings of “Snow White”: the envious mother, the beautiful daughter, the servant who spares the protagonist’s life, the enchanted sleep, and the royal marriage at the end. And yet it doesn’t feel like “Snow White” at all.

Note: It is quite possible that the daughter is illegitimate because her mother rudely rejects every suitor (see below) and then is cursed to have a daughter more beautiful than she is.

First of all, elements of so many different fairy tales are incorporated that it seems almost like a modern day Into the Woods-style retelling. It begins exactly like “King Thrushbeard”, with a vain woman refusing to marry because none of her suitors is attractive enough for her. But instead of a Taming of the Shrew story, the vain woman goes on to become the Evil Queen character (metaphorically, since she and her daughter are not royalty). Later on, it takes on aspects of “Hansel and Gretel” and even “Jack and the Beanstalk”, with the child lost in the wood finding her way to the home of an ogre who might very well decide to kill her. But instead, he is so amazed by her beauty that he spares her life. This is still “Snow White”, but it’s like a patchwork version of “Snow White” that blends in bits and pieces of other fairy tales as well.

Note: If you are not familiar with King Thrushbeard read it {HERE}

But the strangest thing is Snow White’s suicidal attitude. There are other variants where she is willing to let the Huntsman-equivalent kill her, but this is the only one where she actively goes out of her way to make sure she dies. The story emphasises that she’s being obedient to her mother, but I can’t imagine anyone being that obedient, particularly not to someone who has kept her locked up for most of her life up until this point. I have to wonder if this Snow White is suffering from depression as a result of the way her mother has treated her. I can imagine that someone in her situation might not have much hope left. Snow White is usually the kind of character who can find hope in any situation, but this version … well, she wants to die pretty badly. That makes me question how happy the happy ending can actually be. If the kindness she was shown by her mother’s servant and even by the ogre wasn’t enough to make her want to live, will she keep trying to take her own life even now that she is married to King Peacock?

This topic of female obedience has been one that I have been discussing with several friends lately. Our southern upbringings gave us all, to varying degrees, an ingrained notion of our feelings are less valid than others (particularly men) and that we should put everyone else first and ourselves last at the cost of our mental health and happiness.

King Peacock of South Arboretum | David Levinson | Flickr

King Peacock source

There was once a lady who was so pretty, —so pretty that she never wanted to marry. She found something to criticise in all the suitors who presented themselves, saying of them : "Oh, you are too ugly. "You are too small." "You have too large a mouth." One day a fine man came; he was in a golden carriage, drawn by eight horses. He asked the lady to marry him, but she refused. He fell into a passion and told her that in one year she would have a daughter that would be much, much prettier than herself. The lady sent him away with scorn.

Well, a year later she had a pretty little girl. When she saw that, the child was so pretty, she shut her up in a room at the furthest end of the house, with her nurse to attend to her, As the girl grew up, she became handsomer every day. The nurse never allowed her to leave her room, or even to look through the window. One day, however, while the old woman was sweeping the floor, she left the door open, and the young girl saw a large bird.

"Nurse,” said she, "how do you call that bird which is so pretty ?"

The woman was obliged to reply and said : "That is a peacock."

“If ever I marry, I want to marry King Peacock."

"May God hear you, my child."

That very day the mother came, called the nurse into a carter, drew from under her skirt a great knife, and said, " I want you to kill my child. She has become prettier than I."

The nurse began to cry and begged the lady to spare the poor child, but all in vain; that black heart could not be softened. When night came, the nurse said to the girl: "My poor child, I have to kill you, your mother wants you to die."

The girl was so good that she replied : " Well, kill me, nurse if my mother wants it to be so."

But the nurse answered: "No, I have not the heart to do any such thing, my little one. Here, take these three seeds, throw yourself in the well and drown yourself ; but before jumping in the well swallow one of these seeds, and you will not suffer at all."

The girl thanked the nurse and went to drown herself. She walked until she arrived at a large well. She threw herself into it, but before touching the water she took one of her seeds to put it in her mouth. The seed, however, fell in the water, and immediately the well dried up. The young lady was very sorry to see that there was no water left in the well and getting out she walked as far as a wood, in which she found a small house. She knocked at the door, and an old woman showed herself. When she saw the pretty young girl, she said : "Oh! my child, what do you come to do here ? Don't you know that my husband is an ogre ? He will eat you up!"

Then the girl answered : " That is what I want. My mother wants me to die."

The woman replied : " If that is the case, come in, but it is a great pity."

The poor girl sat down in a corner and cried while she was waiting for the ogre. All at once they heard big footsteps, and as soon as the door was opened, the ogre said : “My wife, I smell fresh meat in here," and he ran towards the young girl. She, however, merely looked at him with her large eyes, and he stepped back, saying to his wife :

" Do you think that I can eat such a pretty girl ? She is so beautiful that I want to look at her all the time."

The girl said she was tired, so the ogre took her to a beautiful room, and ordered his wife to fan her with peacock feathers while she would be sleeping. The young lady said to herself :

 " It is better for me to die now, for perhaps the ogre will change his mind to-morrow and will eat me." She put one of her seeds in her mouth and fell in a deep sleep. She slept and slept, and the ogre's wife was fanning her all the time. When three days had passed, and she did not awake, the ogre looked at her, and said : "It is a great pity, but I believe she is dead.” He went to the town and brought a coffin all made of gold. He put the girl in it and placed it on the river. The coffin then went floating down the river. Very far away, King Peacock was one day on the levee, with all his princes, to enjoy the cool breeze, when he saw something shining in the river. He ordered his courtiers to see what that was. They took a skiff, and exclaiming, "It is a coffin," they brought it to the king. When he saw the pretty young girl, who appeared to be sleeping, he said, "Take her to my chamber," for he wished to try to awaken her. He put her on a bed and rubbed her hands and face with cologne water, but to no avail. Then he opened her mouth to see what pretty teeth she had. He saw something red in her front teeth and tried to take it off with a golden pin. It was a seed which fell on the floor. The young girl awoke and said, “I am so glad to see you." The king replied: "I am King Peacock, and I want to marry you." The young girl said

"Yes” and there was such a wedding that they sent me to relate the story everywhere, everywhere.

That’s all for this week. Stay tuned next week for a more traditional retelling.






Thursday, 28 May 2020

The Golden Cap--Oz pages 35-36

Hello lovelies! The next few illustrations have to do with the Winged Monkeys. Yes they appear in the film and are referred to as the Flying Monkeys, but in the film we don’t know why the witch can command them. We just presume they are evil and work for her because she is evil, but the book takes a different tactic.

 There was, in her cupboard, a Golden Cap, with a circle of diamonds and rubies running round it. This Golden Cap had a charm. Whoever owned it could call three times upon the Winged Monkeys, who would obey any order they were given. But no person could command these strange creatures more than three times. Twice already the Wicked Witch had used the charm of the Cap. Once was when she had made the Winkies her slaves and set herself to rule over their country. The Winged Monkeys had helped her do this. The second time was when she had fought against the Great Oz himself  and driven him out of the land of the West. The Winged Monkeys had also helped her in doing this. Only once more could she use this Golden Cap, for which reason she did not like to do so until all her other powers were exhausted. But now that her fierce wolves and her wild crows and her stinging bees were gone, and her slaves had been scared away by the Cowardly Lion, she saw there was only one way left to destroy Dorothy and her friends.

The Golden Cap is my first illustration. I actually used the one in the original 1900 illustration by artist WW Denslow as my model. I printed it on gold paper and added real diamonds and rubies in the form of stick-on jewels. If you watch the 1939 film in the scene where Dorothy is blubbing her eyes out in the witch’s castle waiting for the men to save her (which I hate because it is the antithesis to the Dorothy of the book) you can see what looks like the golden cap as a background prop.  

So the Wicked Witch took the Golden Cap from her cupboard and placed it upon her head. Then she stood upon her left foot and said slowly:

"Ep-pe, pep-pe, kak-ke!"

Next she stood upon her right foot and said:

"Hil-lo, hol-lo, hel-lo!"

After this she stood upon both feet and cried in a loud voice:

"Ziz-zy, zuz-zy, zik!"

This is my second illustration. I always loved the word play of Baum’s magic words and this is no exception.

Now the charm began to work. The sky was darkened, and a low rumbling sound was heard in the air. There was a rushing of many wings, a great chattering and laughing, and the sun came out of the dark sky to show the Wicked Witch surrounded by a crowd of monkeys, each with a pair of immense and powerful wings on his shoulders.

One, much bigger than the others, seemed to be their leader. He flew close to the Witch and said, "You have called us for the third and last time. What do you command?"

"Go to the strangers who are within my land and destroy them all except the Lion," said the Wicked Witch. "Bring that beast to me, for I have a mind to harness him like a horse, and make him work."

"Your commands shall be obeyed," said the leader. Then, with a great deal of chattering and noise, the Winged Monkeys flew away to the place where Dorothy and her friends were walking.

Here they are side by side.

I always found it interesting that the Winged Monkeys were not evil they were just obeying orders. We will learn more of their backstory in about 5 pages. Stay tuned for the fate of our four friends.

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Wolves, Crows and Bees--Oh My! Oz pages 33-34

Hello lovelies! Today we find out what the Witch did with the silver whistle. As I said in my last post, she exploits animals for power. She has little power of her own. This is a scene definitely not found in the film. It is far more violent than you would expect and not particularly animal friendly. This chilled me as a child –the thought of being torn apart by wolves, having my eyes pecked out by crows or stung to death by bees still makes me shiver and I thought the words were so good, we needed an illustration and then a pocket story.

Here they are side by side:

Here we are on the left picture. I happen to have this great paper with bees on it that I used as a backdrop. I then added the snarling wolf and attacking crow on top of it.

Here is the text that went in the pocket. I had to abridge it slightly to make it fit on four columns. But here it is in full with the illustration below it.

Now the Wicked Witch of the West had but one eye, yet that was as powerful as a telescope, and could see everywhere. So, as she sat in the door of her castle, she happened to look around and saw Dorothy lying asleep, with her friends all about her. They were a long distance off, but the Wicked Witch was angry to find them in her country; so she blew upon a silver whistle that hung around her neck.

At once there came running to her from all directions a pack of great wolves. They had long legs and fierce eyes and sharp teeth.

"Go to those people," said the Witch, "and tear them to pieces."

"Are you not going to make them your slaves?" asked the leader of the wolves.

"No," she answered, "one is of tin, and one of straw; one is a girl and another a Lion. None of them is fit to work, so you may tear them into small pieces."

"Very well," said the wolf, and he dashed away at full speed, followed by the others.

It was lucky the Scarecrow and the Woodman were wide awake and heard the wolves coming.

"This is my fight," said the Woodman, "so get behind me and I will meet them as they come."

He seized his axe, which he had made very sharp, and as the leader of the wolves came on the Tin Woodman swung his arm and chopped the wolf's head from its body, so that it immediately died. As soon as he could raise his axe another wolf came up, and he also fell under the sharp edge of the Tin Woodman's weapon. There were forty wolves, and forty times a wolf was killed, so that at last they all lay dead in a heap before the Woodman.

Then he put down his axe and sat beside the Scarecrow, who said, "It was a good fight, friend."

They waited until Dorothy awoke the next morning. The little girl was quite frightened when she saw the great pile of shaggy wolves, but the Tin Woodman told her all. She thanked him for saving them and sat down to breakfast, after which they started again upon their journey.

Now this same morning the Wicked Witch came to the door of her castle and looked out with her one eye that could see far off. She saw all her wolves lying dead, and the strangers still traveling through her country. This made her angrier than before, and she blew her silver whistle twice.

Straightway a great flock of wild crows came flying toward her, enough to darken the sky.

And the Wicked Witch said to the King Crow, "Fly at once to the strangers; peck out their eyes and tear them to pieces."

The wild crows flew in one great flock toward Dorothy and her companions. When the little girl saw them coming she was afraid.

But the Scarecrow said, "This is my battle, so lie down beside me and you will not be harmed."

So they all lay upon the ground except the Scarecrow, and he stood up and stretched out his arms. And when the crows saw him they were frightened, as these birds always are by scarecrows, and did not dare to come any nearer. But the King Crow said:

"It is only a stuffed man. I will peck his eyes out."

The King Crow flew at the Scarecrow, who caught it by the head and twisted its neck until it died. And then another crow flew at him, and the Scarecrow twisted its neck also. There were forty crows, and forty times the Scarecrow twisted a neck, until at last all were lying dead beside him. Then he called to his companions to rise, and again they went upon their journey.

When the Wicked Witch looked out again and saw all her crows lying in a heap, she got into a terrible rage, and blew three times upon her silver whistle.

Forthwith there was heard a great buzzing in the air, and a swarm of black bees came flying toward her.

"Go to the strangers and sting them to death!" commanded the Witch, and the bees turned and flew rapidly until they came to where Dorothy and her friends were walking. But the Woodman had seen them coming, and the Scarecrow had decided what to do.

"Take out my straw and scatter it over the little girl and the dog and the Lion," he said to the Woodman, "and the bees cannot sting them." This the Woodman did, and as Dorothy lay close beside the Lion and held Toto in her arms, the straw covered them entirely.

The bees came and found no one but the Woodman to sting, so they flew at him and broke off all their stings against the tin, without hurting the Woodman at all. And as bees cannot live when their stings are broken that was the end of the black bees, and they lay scattered thick about the Woodman, like little heaps of fine coal.

Then Dorothy and the Lion got up, and the girl helped the Tin Woodman put the straw back into the Scarecrow again, until he was as good as ever. So they started upon their journey once more.

The Wicked Witch was so angry when she saw her black bees in little heaps like fine coal that she stamped her foot and tore her hair and gnashed her teeth.

I used the same red background as I used on the previous pages and used the bee paper to make the pocket. I added little wolves and crows down the side.

Stay tuned for the next illustration which is film related, but with much more explanatory bling.

What We Ate Wednesday--"What Have We Got In the Fridge" and Polenta

Hello lovelies! I have been notably absent these last two weeks. I seem to have lost my mojo for cooking. The ingredients I need are never in stock or are suddenly more expensive than before so I just keep having to change plans and stick close to the same few meals over and over as i just haven't got the umph to try out any new recipes at the moment. It has all been cheap and nutritious, but a bit on the boring side. 

This was another "what have we got in the fridge" meals. There was one onion, a quarter of a red pepper, a few really nice home grown carrots from my friend Jo's garden, some slightly wilted kale (also from Jo's garden), chickpeas and the only grain I had in the house was polenta. 

I was like, "What can I do with this??" Feel free to substitute anything you have in the fridge and stick it over polenta. 

"What Have We Got In the Fridge" and Polenta
 one onion,cut into rainbows
a few cloves garlic, crushed
 a quarter of a red pepper, diced
 1 carrot, cut small
 100g (4 big handfuls)  kale
1 tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 TB tamari or soy sauce
1/2 tsp yeast extract (optional...Tesco brand Marmite is GF) 
1/2 cup strong vegetable stock

1 cup plenta
4 cups water or veg stock
1/2 to 1 cup vegan milk (I ued 1/2 cup soya milk as that was all i had left)
1 batch parmesan ( TB each nutritional yeast and ground almonds, 1/2 tsp each salt and garlic powder) --optional but nice

I think what always used to put me off polenta was the cooking time--recipes talk about 30 minutes of simmering, but ours just cooks in about  5 minutes after angrily ejaculating all over the inside of my pot lid. Maybe it is the ceramic burners on our hob--they are notoriously slow to cool down. But after about 5 minutes it is soft and creamy and we like it that way. So cook it according to package directions.

Basically, cook up your onion and garlic in a splash of water and then add everything else and simmer until veg are soft and kale is reduced. Add some mixed herbs if you like.

Meanwhile work on your polenta. Bring your water or stock to the boil and slowly stream in your polenta, whisking constantly until it thickens. Maybe cook it some more on low but ours cooks quickly. If it starts violent spitting take it off the heat. Then stir in your milk and optional parmesan cheese and reheat carefully to avoid being covered in hot polenta spunk. 

Divide the polenta and serve with the veg on top. Makes enough for two greedy vegans. 

Saturday, 23 May 2020

Meet the Wicked Witch--Oz pages 31-32

Hello lovelies! Here are some of my favourite illustrations. We finally meet the Wicked Witch of the West. I adore Margaret Hamilton and her terrifying portrayal of the witch in the film (and I can do a mean impression of her saying “I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog too!” ) but the witch in the book is a very different sort of witch.

First off, she is a witch that has little power of her own. She exploits the power of animals to get what she wants (as you will see in the illustrations after these). There is very little physical description her. We know the Wicked Witch of the West had but one eye, yet that was as powerful as a telescope. The original illustrator WW Denslow portrayed her with 3 hair braids sticking out in all directions and a very tall, narrow pointy pat and wearing spats on her feet and carrying an umbrella—the umbrella is the only bit mentioned in the text. He also puts an eye patch to give her the one eye effect. I have chosen something different which you will see below. We also know that when Toto bites her the Witch did not bleed where she was bitten, for she was so wicked that the blood in her had dried up many years before.

The story below has some classic lines in it.

The soldier with the green whiskers led them through the streets of the Emerald City until they reached the room where the Guardian of the Gates lived. This officer unlocked their spectacles to put them back in his great box, and then he politely opened the gate for our friends.

"Which road leads to the Wicked Witch of the West?" asked Dorothy.

"There is no road," answered the Guardian of the Gates. "No one ever wishes to go that way."

"How, then, are we to find her?" inquired the girl.

"That will be easy," replied the man, "for when she knows you are in the country of the Winkies she will find you and make you all her slaves."

"Perhaps not," said the Scarecrow, "for we mean to destroy her."

"Oh, that is different," said the Guardian of the Gates. "No one has ever destroyed her before, so I naturally thought she would make slaves of you, as she has of the rest. But take care; for she is wicked and fierce  and may not allow you to destroy her. Keep to the West, where the sun sets, and you cannot fail to find her."

My illustration—it almost wasn’t this. There is a line bellow that is so interesting, it almost was something else. But I had a very vivid dream that told me to make it this and how to make the witch. You are going to love the witch. I decided to copy the version of the Emerald City on a hill. Same shapes, but more sinister. My favourite graphic novel illustrator Gabriel Rodriguez does this all the time in Locke and Key and this is my little homage to that where you have two similar pictures with the same shape, but one is sensible, and one is sinister. I also painted the background red with streaks of black to look like the sky was on fire. Ignore my knee in the left corner--I was trying to keep the page flat enough for a photo. 

 They thanked him and bade him good-bye, and turned toward the West, walking over fields of soft grass dotted here and there with daisies and buttercups. Dorothy still wore the pretty silk dress she had put on in the palace, but now, to her surprise, she found it was no longer green, but pure white. The ribbon around Toto's neck had also lost its green colour and was as white as Dorothy's dress.

This was almost the illustration. I have always loved the detail of the green dress and ribbon having “lost their colour” instead of realising that they had been white all along and only appeared green with the green tinted spectacles. But I am glad I had the vivid dream that told me to leave this and make the witch’s castle instead.  

The Emerald City was soon left far behind. As they advanced the ground became rougher and hillier, for there were no farms nor houses in this country of the West, and the ground was untilled.

In the afternoon the sun shone hot in their faces, for there were no trees to offer them shade; so that before night Dorothy and Toto and the Lion were tired, and lay down upon the grass and fell asleep, with the Woodman and the Scarecrow keeping watch.

Now the Wicked Witch of the West had but one eye, yet that was as powerful as a telescope, and could see everywhere. So, as she sat in the door of her castle, she happened to look around and saw Dorothy lying asleep, with her friends all about her.

They were a long distance off, but the Wicked Witch was angry to find them in her country; so she blew upon a silver whistle that hung around her neck.

Here is my witch. I kept the same buckets of blood background as the page to the left. In my dream I could see her so clearly—bony and skeletal, dried out like dust on the inside from Toto’s bite. I could see her gleaming skull in my dream with one fleshy eye. I woke up and immediately searched for clip art to make that happen. A bit of computer magic later and Boom! I had my witch. I decided on a skull with no lower jaw as skulls with a lower jaw all looked like they were smiling. And I definitely didn’t want that. I found some old Victorian pen and ink anatomy drawings of the body and used the spine and clavicle for her body then made a dress to go on top to reveal the bones and then a hat. I am very proud of the effect as it is startling and not at all what you would expect.

Here they are side by side.

Stay tuned for the next bit where you find out what happened when she blew the silver whistle. Tomorrow is definitely not film territory.

How the Four Met the Wizard--Oz pages 27-30

Hello lovelies! The next few pages are all about seeing the Wizard. In the film they all go in together and he appears in the form of a giant disembodied head, but here they must go in separately and Oz appears differently to each character. To Dorothya giant head. To the Scarecrow—a lovely lady with fairy wings. To the Tin Woodman—a terrible beast with five eyes. To the Lion—a ball of fire. Each encounter bears the same question from the Wizard "I am Oz, the Great and Terrible. Who are you, and why do you seek me?" and so that is the phrase I have used on each page.

Here you can see them side by side. Close ups and how I made them are below.

The Head and the  Lady:

The Beast and the Fire:

It is getting increasingly hard to work on the left side of the book. You may notice a shadow in the corner of the left hand page—that is my knee holding the book open to get a photo.

The story tells us:

She opened a little door and Dorothy walked boldly through and found herself in a wonderful place. It was a big, round room with a high arched roof, and the walls and ceiling and floor were covered with large emeralds set closely together. In the centre of the roof was a great light, as bright as the sun, which made the emeralds sparkle in a wonderful manner.

But what interested Dorothy most was the big throne of green marble that stood in the middle of the room. It was shaped like a chair and sparkled with gems, as did everything else. In the centre of the chair was an enormous Head, without a body to support it or any arms or legs whatever. There was no hair upon this head, but it had eyes and a nose and mouth, and was much bigger than the head of the biggest giant.

I made my head our of green paper (I found this great picture online) and used stick on jewels for eyes.

As Dorothy gazed upon this in wonder and fear, the eyes turned slowly and looked at her sharply and steadily. Then the mouth moved, and Dorothy heard a voice say:

"I am Oz, the Great and Terrible. Who are you, and why do you seek me?"

It was not such an awful voice as she had expected to come from the big Head; so she took courage and answered:

"I am Dorothy, the Small and Meek. I have come to you for help."

The eyes looked at her thoughtfully for a full minute. Then said the voice:

"Where did you get the silver shoes?"

"I got them from the Wicked Witch of the East, when my house fell on her and killed her," she replied.

"Where did you get the mark upon your forehead?" continued the voice.

"That is where the Good Witch of the North kissed me when she bade me good-bye and sent me to you," said the girl.

Again the eyes looked at her sharply, and they saw she was telling the truth. Then Oz asked, "What do you wish me to do?"

"Send me back to Kansas, where my Aunt Em and Uncle Henry are," she answered earnestly. "I don't like your country, although it is so beautiful. And I am sure Aunt Em will be dreadfully worried over my being away so long."

The eyes winked three times, and then they turned up to the ceiling and down to the floor and rolled around so queerly that they seemed to see every part of the room. And at last they looked at Dorothy again.

"Why should I do this for you?" asked Oz.

"Because you are strong and I am weak; because you are a Great Wizard and I am only a little girl."

"But you were strong enough to kill the Wicked Witch of the East," said Oz.

"That just happened," returned Dorothy simply; "I could not help it."

"Well," said the Head, "I will give you my answer. You have no right to expect me to send you back to Kansas unless you do something for me in return. In this country everyone must pay for everything he gets. If you wish me to use my magic power to send you home again you must do something for me first. Help me and I will help you."

"What must I do?" asked the girl.

"Kill the Wicked Witch of the West," answered Oz.

"But I cannot!" exclaimed Dorothy, greatly surprised.

"You killed the Witch of the East and you wear the silver shoes, which bear a powerful charm. There is now but one Wicked Witch left in all this land, and when you can tell me she is dead I will send you back to Kansas--but not before."

The little girl began to weep, she was so much disappointed; and the eyes winked again and looked upon her anxiously, as if the Great Oz felt that she could help him if she would.

"I never killed anything, willingly," she sobbed. "Even if I wanted to, how could I kill the Wicked Witch? If you, who are Great and Terrible, cannot kill her yourself, how do you expect me to do it?"

"I do not know," said the Head; "but that is my answer, and until the Wicked Witch dies you will not see your uncle and aunt again. Remember that the Witch is Wicked--tremendously Wicked--and ought to be killed. Now go, and do not ask to see me again until you have done your task."

Sorrowfully Dorothy left the Throne Room and went back where the Lion and the Scarecrow and the Tin Woodman were waiting to hear what Oz had said to her. "There is no hope for me," she said sadly, "for Oz will not send me home until I have killed the Wicked Witch of the West; and that I can never do."

Her friends were sorry, but could do nothing to help her; so Dorothy went to her own room and lay down on the bed and cried herself to sleep.

The next morning the soldier with the green whiskers came to the Scarecrow and said:

"Come with me, for Oz has sent for you."

So the Scarecrow followed him and was admitted into the great Throne Room, where he saw, sitting in the emerald throne, a most lovely Lady. She was dressed in green silk gauze and wore upon her flowing green locks a crown of jewels. Growing from her shoulders were wings, gorgeous in colour and so light that they fluttered if the slightest breath of air reached them.

I had to search a long time to find what I was looking for. I wanted someone pretty, wearing robes, facing forward who would be easy to cut out. I searched for hours looking for a fairy, but ultimately went for a drawing of an angel that I put fairy wings on. I coloured her with a mix of sharpie, coloured pencils and iridescent watercolour paint and made her wings from a thicker tissue paper with pressed flowers in it.

When the Scarecrow had bowed, as prettily as his straw stuffing would let him, before this beautiful creature, she looked upon him sweetly, and said:

"I am Oz, the Great and Terrible. Who are you, and why do you seek me?"

Now the Scarecrow, who had expected to see the great Head Dorothy had told him of, was much astonished; but he answered her bravely.

"I am only a Scarecrow, stuffed with straw. Therefore I have no brains, and I come to you praying that you will put brains in my head instead of straw, so that I may become as much a man as any other in your dominions."

"Why should I do this for you?" asked the Lady.

"Because you are wise and powerful, and no one else can help me," answered the Scarecrow.

"I never grant favours without some return," said Oz; "but this much I will promise. If you will kill for me the Wicked Witch of the West, I will bestow upon you a great many brains, and such good brains that you will be the wisest man in all the Land of Oz."

"I thought you asked Dorothy to kill the Witch," said the Scarecrow, in surprise.

"So I did. I don't care who kills her. But until she is dead I will not grant your wish. Now go, and do not seek me again until you have earned the brains you so greatly desire."

The Scarecrow went sorrowfully back to his friends and told them what Oz had said; and Dorothy was surprised to find that the Great Wizard was not a Head, as she had seen him, but a lovely Lady.

"All the same," said the Scarecrow, "she needs a heart as much as the Tin Woodman."

On the next morning the soldier with the green whiskers came to the Tin Woodman and said:

"Oz has sent for you. Follow me."

So the Tin Woodman followed him and came to the great Throne Room. He did not know whether he would find Oz a lovely Lady or a Head, but he hoped it would be the lovely Lady. "For," he said to himself, "if it is the head, I am sure I shall not be given a heart, since a head has no heart of its own and therefore cannot feel for me. But if it is the lovely Lady I shall beg hard for a heart, for all ladies are themselves said to be kindly hearted."

But when the Woodman entered the great Throne Room, he saw neither the Head nor the Lady, for Oz had taken the shape of a most terrible Beast. It was nearly as big as an elephant, and the green throne seemed hardly strong enough to hold its weight. The Beast had a head like that of a rhinoceros, only there were five eyes in its face. There were five long arms growing out of its body, and it also had five long, slim legs. Thick, woolly hair covered every part of it, and a more dreadful-looking monster could not be imagined. It was fortunate the Tin Woodman had no heart at that moment, for it would have beat loud and fast from terror. But being only tin, the Woodman was not at all afraid, although he was much disappointed.

For this illustration I used the head of a Judoon (as I am sure my fellow Doctor Who fans will recognise) since it looks a bit like a rhino that I printed on textured green paper. I made five long slim legs out of offcuts of the same green paper and I made the five arms by tearing strips of cloth to give them a woolly appearance. I also used googly-eyes for the five eyes.

"I am Oz, the Great and Terrible," spoke the Beast, in a voice that was one great roar. "Who are you, and why do you seek me?"

"I am a Woodman and made of tin. Therefore I have no heart and cannot love. I pray you to give me a heart that I may be as other men are."

"Why should I do this?" demanded the Beast.

"Because I ask it, and you alone can grant my request," answered the Woodman.

Oz gave a low growl at this, but said, gruffly: "If you indeed desire a heart, you must earn it."

"How?" asked the Woodman.

"Help Dorothy to kill the Wicked Witch of the West," replied the Beast. "When the Witch is dead, come to me, and I will then give you the biggest and kindest and most loving heart in all the Land of Oz."

So the Tin Woodman was forced to return sorrowfully to his friends and tell them of the terrible Beast he had seen. They all wondered greatly at the many forms the Great Wizard could take upon himself, and the Lion said:

"If he is a Beast when I go to see him, I shall roar my loudest, and so frighten him that he will grant all I ask. And if he is the lovely Lady, I shall pretend to spring upon her, and so compel her to do my bidding. And if he is the great Head, he will be at my mercy; for I will roll this head all about the room until he promises to give us what we desire. So be of good cheer, my friends, for all will yet be well."

The next morning the soldier with the green whiskers led the Lion to the great Throne Room and bade him enter the presence of Oz.

The Lion at once passed through the door, and glancing around saw, to his surprise, that before the throne was a Ball of Fire, so fierce and glowing he could scarcely bear to gaze upon it. His first thought was that Oz had by accident caught on fire and was burning up; but when he tried to go nearer, the heat was so intense that it singed his whiskers, and he crept back tremblingly to a spot nearer the door.

I almost got tricked up here. In my mind and in all my planning I was thinking “Green head, green lady, green monster and yellow and orange fire, because it is fire.” But if they are all wearing green glasses then the fire would appear green. So I have made my ball of fire green by tearing up different colours of green tissue paper and layering them on.

Then a low, quiet voice came from the Ball of Fire, and these were the words it spoke:

"I am Oz, the Great and Terrible. Who are you, and why do you seek me?"

And the Lion answered, "I am a Cowardly Lion, afraid of everything. I came to you to beg that you give me courage, so that in reality I may become the King of Beasts, as men call me."

"Why should I give you courage?" demanded Oz.

"Because of all Wizards you are the greatest, and alone have power to grant my request," answered the Lion.

The Ball of Fire burned fiercely for a time, and the voice said, "Bring me proof that the Wicked Witch is dead, and that moment I will give you courage. But as long as the Witch lives, you must remain a coward."

The Lion was angry at this speech, but could say nothing in reply, and while he stood silently gazing at the Ball of Fire it became so furiously hot that he turned tail and rushed from the room. He was glad to find his friends waiting for him and told them of his terrible interview with the Wizard.

"What shall we do now?" asked Dorothy sadly.

"There is only one thing we can do," returned the Lion, "and that is to go to the land of the Winkies, seek out the Wicked Witch, and destroy her."

Stay tuned for meeting the Witch of the west!